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Belkin Network USB Hub - Belkin Network USB Hub

By Dave Mitchell



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For testing we linked the hub to a Belkin N1 Vision wireless broadband router and used Boston Supermicro PCs loaded with Windows XP SP2 and Vista Ultimate. The wireless connection was tested with a Fujitsu-Siemens notebook running XP SP2 and equipped with a TRENDnet 802.11n PC Card. In practice we found the hub very simple to manage and use. To check standard storage devices we used a Buffalo FireStix, an unbranded 1GB memory stick and a Maxtor OneTouch desktop drive. As soon as they were plugged in the Control Center on each system immediately recognised them and made them ready for use. We also tested using a Hewlett Packard DAT 160 external USB tape drive and Epson Stylus 950 ink-jet printer and had no problems with these either. We liked the fact that as the PC continued to believe it had a local USB connection to the printer, the Epson ink monitoring utilities continued to work normally.

That's the good news but there is bad news which centres purely on performance. To get some comparative data we plugged each storage device directly into a 3.2GHz Pentium D PC and ran a range of file copies and backups. The best speeds came from the FireStix and Maxtor storage devices where we saw respective read speeds of 28MB/sec and 24.6MB/sec. We used EMC's Retrospect for the tape drive and a backup of 12GB of test data reported 5.8MB/sec write speeds. We then connected each device to the hub and reran the same tests. The FireStix and Maxtor devices now returned speeds of only 3.1MB/sec and 2.9MB/sec whilst tape drive performance dropped to 3.9MB/sec.

The bottleneck is not the network but the hub itself as its USB 2.0 ports only seemed to be capable of delivering USB 1.1 speeds. Basically, no matter what you have connected the maximum available bandwidth for all users is less than 4MB/sec. We demonstrated this by running the freely available Iometer on one system connected to the FireStix where it returned a 3.2MB/sec raw read rate. We then fired up Iometer on a second PC accessing the Maxtor drive and throughput settled down to a cumulative 3.7MB/sec for both systems.


Belkin delivers a simple solution for sharing your USB devices over the network. It's extremely easy to use with good management and monitoring tools but overall performance for USB storage devices is a disappointment.


October 9, 2008, 11:20 pm

This little device works exactly as advertised. However, don't be misled by the review. This is NOT a WIRELESS Network USB Hub, it's just a Network USB Hub. To access the network from any USB device, you need to run a cable from the "Ethernet" jack in the back, to an ethernet LAN connection. Other than that, it is a very handy device.


October 31, 2008, 6:53 pm

I like this device. Though its functionality is basic and its performance is limited by the network configuration and devices used, it does do what is on the tin and it does save a lot of physical hassle.

There is no concurrent device sharing. It is as sophisticated as un-plugging a USB device from one PC and plugging it in another, but it is done from the comfort of your chair, electronically - so no wear and tear on the hardware, the computer equipment or yourself.

I am running a networked Windows /XP desktop and a Windows Vista laptop, with a Western Digital external hard drive, a Cannon i950 printer and a 4 Gb memory stick on the hub, so I still have a few sockets left. All have worked fine for the few months I have been using the hub.

I did have a problem with an external hard disk that took its power from the single USB connection. It worked fine, but there were problems when the other devices were connected. After some investigation, I put it down to too much power being demanded from the hub. It was not easy to resolve because it was intermittent and the device affected kept changing.

My only gripe is that "wireless" is mentioned in the advertisements but there is nothing "wireless" about this device. What can be done is that this Belkin USB Hub can be connected, by cable, to a network that can include some wirelessly connected devices. Hence, a laptop with a wireless connection to the network can use the hub.

The Belkin USB hub menu, which needs to be installed from a CD during installation, displays the devices available and is used to connect/disconnect each device. If the requested device is connected to another PC, the name of this PC is displayed and a message is also sent to them, so they might have already released the device before you make contact. Although it is quite basic, it is a quality product that performs well.

Ian McGregor

December 21, 2008, 8:35 pm

I've been using this hub for about 9 months now, it's prime use is sharing 2 printers on my home network of 4 pcs, and it works just great for that. Through speed is not really an issue though it would have been nice to use it for backup hard disks.

My one complaint is, that despite it using linux internally, Belkin have not made available a linux driver for it.

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